Institute Of Medicine Increases Its Percentages Of Minority, Women Members In Latest Election

Sidebar: IOM Members With the election last month of 55 new members, the Institute of Medicine (IoM) has increased the number of minorities in its ranks, bringing the percentage of minority members to its highest point since the honor society was organized 26 years ago. The new slate will be formally inducted at the institute's annual dinner, which will take place next October. The addition of four minority members will bring the institute's total minority representation to 47. That amounts to

Edward Silverman
Nov 24, 1996

Sidebar: IOM Members

With the election last month of 55 new members, the Institute of Medicine (IoM) has increased the number of minorities in its ranks, bringing the percentage of minority members to its highest point since the honor society was organized 26 years ago. The new slate will be formally inducted at the institute's annual dinner, which will take place next October.

The addition of four minority members will bring the institute's total minority representation to 47. That amounts to nearly 9 percent of its total active membership of 546, up from 6 percent in 1993. Joining IoM's ranks are new minority members Marilyn Gaston, assistant surgeon general and director of health resources and services administration at the Bureau of Primary Health Care with the Public Health Service; James Gavin, senior scientific officer at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy chase, Md.; Mario Molina, Martin Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Gerald Thompson, Lambert Professor of Medicine and senior associate dean at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The proportion of minorities elected as senior and foreign associates also reached a new high, rising to 8 percent of 622 total senior and foreign associate members. The addition of five new senior associates-nonvoting members who are 66 years of age or older-brings the ranks of that group up to 583. Five people were added to the foreign associate category, which includes all members who are not United States citizens, boosting its total to 39 members.

The rising percentage of minorities at the institute, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), mirrors a steady increase in the percentage of women who have been elected to the honor society. The newest group of members includes 13 women. The addition brings the total to 122 women, or 22 percent of the total regular membership. This marks another all-time high, up slightly from 21 percent a year ago.

The increases reflect an ongoing and deliberate move by the institute to broaden its membership to more closely mirror society. "We're really trying to bring in new blood," says Karen Hein, the institute's executive officer. The institute hopes the varied makeup will enhance the quality and scope of its many projects by including people with vastly different life experiences and viewpoints.

Institute officials anticipate that this uptrend will be easy to continue, especially since there are more women and minorities in laboratories, boardrooms, think tanks, and classrooms than in previous generations. Presumably, this makes it far easier for IoM to find still more women and minorities to nominate, Hein notes.

Even so, the percentage of minority members isn't as high as Hein would like to see. "It's really just inching up," she acknowledges. "The direction is okay, but the total number of [minority] members certainly isn't where it should be. It's just not high enough. And that applies to women, too."

Chartered by Congress in 1970, the institute has a mandate to develop a broad-based representation of the medical community. Members include practicing physicians, researchers, nurses, and public health officials. At least one-quarter of the total active membership must be drawn from other professions, including law and economics.

New members are chosen by an electoral process within the active membership, those who are 65 and under. Candidates are nominated by institute members. This list of prospective members is divided into categories based on professional disciplines. Names are chosen by the membership committee to be reviewed before a final vote is held by the entire organization.

Once elected, new members are expected to volunteer their time to work on various projects and issue reports related to health-policy concerns. Current efforts include examining the quality of health care, evaluating adolescent development, and assessing health issues in the Middle East. There is also a large project under way on aging. It includes studies of demographics, health consequences, and entitlement programs. A cancer policy board is being formed to look into cancer treatment and patient care.

The institute expects that its minority members will be uniquely positioned to contribute to these diverse projects by virtue of their different world views. The minority category includes not only African Americans and Latinos, but also Asian Americans. However, Asians aren't considered as an underrepresented minority by the Association of American Medical Colleges. This means traditionally underrepresented groups actually constitute a slightly lower percentage of the overall membership.

"Well, 9 percent isn't bad, but obviously, it's really lower if you're looking only at underrepresented groups, which is unfortunate," says Thompson, an African American. "This most likely reflects the basic problem in academia and medicine, in general. There's only a small number of underrepresented minorities with academic achievements. It's growing, but it's smaller than it should be."

"It's a pipeline issue," explains Gavin, another newly elected African American member. "The rather weak penetration of minority scientists and health-care professionals who are at the upper echelons of their disciplines reflects a dearth of [minority researchers] streaming through the pipeline. And by the time you get to an organization like the IoM, there's been a lot of winnowing."

Indeed, the pipeline issue is of major concern to the institute. Hein points out that the entire NAS has instituted projects to address the pipeline problem. In particular, the effort includes trying to interest children in the sciences as well as establishing mentorship programs and instituting retention programs.

"To some degree, the pipeline issue is being addressed by medical schools regarding women, but I don't believe the same can be said for minority M.D.'s and Ph.D.'s," states Hein. "So they can't be found in leadership positions in adequate numbers. But it's not just the end of the pipeline that's important to us. We're trying to broaden our membership, and we ask committee members, many of whom aren't IoM members, to help us identify candidates. It's very intensive."

Institute of Medicine members

Clay M. Armstrong
professor of physiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia

John P. Atkinson
head, John Milliken Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

Marion J. Ball
chief information officer, Information Services, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Alfred O. Berg
professor and associate chairman, department of family medicine, University of Washington, Seattle

Merton Bernfield
Clement A. Smith Professor of Pediatrics; professor of cell biology; and director, joint program in neonatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston

Claire V. Broome
deputy director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta

Mark R. Chassin
professor and chairman, department of health policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; senior vice president for clinical quality, Mount Sinai Hospital and Health System, New York

Paul D. Clayton
professor and chairman, medical informatics; director, Center for Advanced Technology, Columbia Univ., College of Physicians and Surgeons; director, clinical information services, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York

Barbara DeLateur
Lawrence Cardinal Shehan Professor and director of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Medicine; joint professor of health policy and management, School of Hygiene and Public Health, Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore

Allen J. Dietrich
professor of community and family medicine and director, family medicine undergraduate education, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, N.H.

Gerald R. Fink
director, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and American Cancer Society Professor of Genetics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr.
Zellerbach Family Professor of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

Mitchell H. Gail
head, epidemiologic methods section; chief, biostatistics branch, division of cancer epidemiology and genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.

John I. Gallin
director, NIH Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center; associate director for clinical research, National Institutes of Health; chief, laboratory of host defenses, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Md.

Marilyn Hughes Gaston
assistant surgeon general and director, bureau of primary health care, Health Resources and Services Administration, Public Health Service, Bethesda, Md.

James R. Gavin III
senior scientific officer, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, Md.

Robert L. Goldenberg
Charles E. Flowers Professor and chairman, department of obstetrics and gynecology, University of Alabama, Birmingham

Lewis R. Goldfrank
director, emergency medical services, Bellevue Hospital Center and New York University Medical Center, New York

Sheldon Greenfield
director, Primary Care Outcome Research Institute, New England Medical Center Hospital, Boston

Edgar Haber
Elkan R. Blout Professor of Biological Sciences and director, division of biological sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston

Charlene A. Harrington
professor and chairwoman, department of social and behavioral sciences, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco

Brigid L.M. Hogan
investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Hortense B. Ingram Professor of Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.

Robert P. Kelch
professor of pediatrics and dean, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City

David A. Kindig
professor of preventive medicine; director, Wisconsin Network for Health Policy Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine

Richard D. Klausner
director, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.

Herbert D. Kleber
professor of psychiatry and director, division on substance abuse, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York

William J. Koopman
chairman, dept. of medicine; director, division of clinical immunology and rheuma-tology; director, Multipurpose Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases Center; Howard L. Holley Professor of Medicine, Univ. of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham

Bernard Lo
professor of medicine, University of California, San Francisco; director, program in medical ethics; codirector, UCSF/ Stanford Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, San Francisco

Joanne Lynn
professor of health care sciences and of medicine; director, Center to Improve the Care of the Dying, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Henri R. Manasse, Jr.
executive vice president designate, American Society of Health System Pharmacists, Bethesda, Md.

Bettie Sue Masters
Robert A. Welch Professor in Chemistry, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio

Mario J. Molina
Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

H. Richard Nesson
president, Brigham and Women's Hospital; chief executive officer, Partners HealthCare System Inc.; professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School

Michael B.A. Oldstone
professor of neuropharmacology and immunology, Scripps Research Institute; head, division of virology, University of California, San Diego

John W. Olney
professor of psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine

Scott S. Parker
president and chief executive officer, Intermountain Health Care, Salt Lake City, Utah

Dale Purves
George Barth Geller Professor for Research in Neurobiology and chairman, department of neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.

Nancy E.K. Reame
director, National Center for Infertility Research; research scientist, reproductive sciences program; professor, School of Nursing, University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor

David H. Sachs
Paul S. Russell/Warner-Lambert Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School; director, Transplantation Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Marla E. Salmon
director, division of nursing, and chief nurse, Health Resources and Services Administration, Public Health Service, Rockville, Md.

Peter T. Scardino
Russell and Mary Hugh Scott Professor and chairman, Scott Department of Urology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston

Edward M. Scolnick
executive vice president of science and technology, Merck and Co. Inc.; president, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pa.

George F. Sheldon
professor and chairman, department of surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill

Thomas E. Shenk
investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; James Elkins Professor in Life Sciences, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.

Samuel C. Silverstein
John C. Dalton Professor and chairman, department of physiology and cellular biophysics; and professor of medicine, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons

Steven R. Tannenbaum
professor of toxicology and chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Susan S. Taylor
professor of chemistry and biochemistry, University of California, San Diego

Gerald E. Thomson
Samuel Lambert Professor of Medicine; and associate dean, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University

Judith L. Vaitukaitis
director, National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

Andrew G. Wallace
dean, Dartmouth Medical School; and vice president for health affairs, Dartmouth College

John E. Ware, Jr.
senior scientist and director, International Resource Center for Health Care Assessment, Health Institute, New England Medical Center, Boston

Kenneth E. Warner
Richard D. Remington Collegiate Professor of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Stephen G. Waxman
professor and chairman, department of neurology, Yale Medical School; neurologist-in-chief, Yale-New Haven Medical Center, New Haven, Conn.

Myron L. Weisfeldt
Samuel Bard Professor of Medicine and chairman, department of medicine, Columbia Univ. College of Physicians and Surgeons; head, cardiovascular center, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center

Myrna M. Weissman
professor of epidemiology in psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, School of Public Health, Columbia University; and chief, department of clinical and genetic epidemiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York
Foreign Associates
Arvid E. Carlsson
professor of pharmacology, emeritus, University of G^Úteborg, Sweden
Rodrigo V. Guerrero
regional adviser in violence prevention and urban development, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C.
Jocelyne Kane-Berman
chief director, Groote Schuur Hospital Region, Republic of South Africa
Kiyoshi Kurokawa
professor and chairman, department of medicine, University of Tokyo Faculty of Medicine, Japan
Shmuel Penchas
director general, Hadassah Medical Organization, Jerusalem, Israel
Senior Associates

Robert L. Brent
distinguished professor of pediatrics, radiology, and pathology; Louis and Bess Stein Professor of Pediatrics, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia

K. Danner Clouser
professor of humanities, department of humanities, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey

John W. Gardner
Miriam and Peter Haas Centennial Professor in Public Service, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, Stanford, Calif.

Mervyn W. Susser
Gertrude H. Sergievsky Professor, Emeritus, of Epidemiology, Columbia University, Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, New York

Torsten N. Wiesel
president, Rockefeller University, New York

Edward R. Silverman is a writer with the Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J.